On Monday afternoon, a brawl took center stage in Major League Baseball. On Tuesday afternoon, Bud Black, manager of the Colorado Rockies and former Major League pitcher, talked about some of baseball’s unwritten rules.
Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals and Hunter Strickland of the San Francisco Giants both drew suspensions for their role in Monday’s melee in San Francisco. The fisticuffs drew national attention and were still being discussed on Tuesday afternoon as the Rockies and Seattle Mariners prepared to play at Coors Field.
One of the things that reportedly sparked the feud was Harper hitting two homers off Strickland in 2014 and doing more than just running around the bases after. Some jawing and not-so-friendly looks accompanied the long balls. That was almost three years before Monday’s fiasco.
During his 15-year career, Black gave up 217 homers. I asked him if he still remembered some of the reactions of the batters after they launched a homer off one of his pitches.
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Monday’s fight has already brought up baseball’s “unwritten code,” kept between players as part of a special fraternity. One of the codes is keeping the celebration at the plate to a minimum. It’s one of the reasons why the bat flips that Jose Bautista loves to do after homers has drawn so much attention.
So has the unwritten code changed as the game of baseball has changed?
"“I think it has in some ways, sure,” Black said. “I think that happens from generation to generation. I still think there are some traditional unwritten rules or codes that will last a lifetime in our game.”"
It’s now apparent that Strickland held a grudge against Harper for hitting those homers in 2014. Does Black hold a grudge against a former opponent at the plate?
“There’s this kid in Little League…” Black smiled.